Langford (part 5): Ecclesiastical lands

In my last post I investigated various ancient records in the hope of working out how my 12xg grandfather Roger Langford of Broadwoodwidger, the ancestor of the Langfords, Clotworthys and Uptons in Ireland, was related to the five Langford brothers – John, Richard of Langisford (near Peter Tavy), Walter of Whitchurch, Roger of Germansweek & Henry of Thrushelton – who lived in Devon in the first half of the 16th Century. Despite finding land transactions linking him to all the brothers except John, I haven’t yet established how he fits in.

In this post I’m going to look at the ecclesiastical lands held by the Langfords and a few additional court cases concerning them.

Ecclesiastical land

When Capt Roger Langford Esq was granted the lands of the former priory of Muckamore in Co Antrim in about 1606, he was following a long family tradition of owning church land.

  • In 1592, his father Roger Langifforde of Broadwoodwidger leased the tithes of Broadwoodwidger and Germansweek together with John Bidlake of Germansweek and William Palmer of Broadwoodwidger.

(John Bidlake had married Elizabeth the daughter of Roger Langford of Germansweek. His sister Thomasine (or Tamsin) Bidlake had married William Langford of Bratton Clovelly in 1572.)

In the year 1535, Henry VIII assessed the finances of the monasteries in his kingdom. The previous year he had broken with Rome and established the Church of England and the first step he took towards the eventual dissolution of the monasteries was to assess their property in the Valor Ecclesiasticus.

Three of the Langford brothers held leases on lands owned by the church.

  • The church of Maristow together with the chapelry of Thrushelton were leased to Henrico Langefford for £8.
  • Peter Tavy rectory was leased to Henrico Langifford for £17 10s 9d
  • Walkhampton, Shittistor and Rynmore were leased to Waltero Langifford for 40s
  • In Marldon some land was leased to Rogero Langifford.

Shittistor is now Sheepstor. I can’t imagine why it changed its name. Both Sheepstor and Walkhampton are associated with the Elford family and are south east of Tavistock and Peter Tavy.

Marldon is a long way away, near Paignton. There would be no reason to believe that the Roger Langifford who leased land in Marldon was Roger of Germansweek if it weren’t for a case in Chancery some time between 1556 and 1558 where one Christian Arnold made a claim against William Langford of Week St Germans (i.e. Germansweek) concerning property they had leased from successive chantry priests of Marldon. This would seem to make it likely that Roger Langford of Germansweek was the one to lease the ecclesiastical land in Marldon, and that William of Week St Germans was his heir.

Other court cases

I have found a few more court cases concerning Roger Langfords.

  • Fitz v Langisford
    Fitz v Langisford

    1535 John Fitz sues Roger Langisford for formedon of remainder (a suit to do with arguments about who should succeed to an entailed estate.) Here’s a link to the roll. Unfortunately my mediaeval Latin isn’t up to much. I can see repeated mentions of Englosio filio Thomo de Wilomoto & heredi de corpore suo exeunt (Englosius son to Thomas de Wilmott and the heirs of his body) but I can’t work out what else it says. There seems to be a William Langisford mentioned too and also a Riard (Richard?) and a Robert Langisford, which makes me think the people involved are the family in this case from 1516 in the National Archives where Richard Langesforde gives land in Peter Tavy to his sons Roger, William and Robert. There were Inquisitions Post Mortem held in Devon for a William Langeford in 1522 and a Richard Langford in 1528. It seems this must be a generation before the five brothers.


  • 1554 Roger Langisford of Bratton is accused of debt by Mayo, executor of Buckenham. I’m not sure who Roger of Bratton is. Roger of Germansweek was probably still alive, but Roger of Broadwoodwidger may just have been old enough. Both Germansweek and Broadwoodwidger border Bratton Clovelly.


  • 1578 Indented agreement in the National Archives where John Blackedon/Blagdon the elder agrees to assign all his property in Devon to Anthony Monke esq, William Herrys esq, Roger Langysford and John Pote, gentlemen for the use of John Blackdon’s sons. This must be Roger of Broadwoodwidger. Roger’s sister-in-law Charity Browne was the wife of John Pote and later married one of the sons, Richard Blackdon. Anthony Monck, the grandfather of George Monck 1st Duke of Albemarle (the general who restored the monarchy in 1660), was married to Mary Arscott who was a cousin of both Mary Langford, the granddaughter of Henry Langford and John Fitz, and her husband Arthur Arscott. Later on Roger was the overseer of the will of Grace Fitz, Mary Langford’s mother.


Once again, the records show multiple links between Roger Langford of Broadwoodwidger and the five brothers without pinpointing his place in the family tree. In my final post in this series I will examine the heraldic evidence to see if that can tell us anything.


Author: doublebassy

Double bass player in London

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